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Wednesday, November 17, 1999 Published at 17:07 GMT


World: South Asia

Kashmir 'war still on'

The meeting was attended by senior ministers and security officials

India's Home Minister, LK Advani, has said that a war-like situation still exists in the disputed region of Kashmir and India cannot lower its guard.

Mr Advani was speaking at a meeting of top administrators and security officials held in the Indian capital.

Kashmir Conflict
His comments came after an increase in violence in the state with attacks by separatist militants and cross-border artillery exchanges between Indian and Pakistani forces.

"We cannot afford to be off guard now that the Kargil war is over," Mr Advani told reporters after the meeting.

"In a way the war is still on," he said.

The home minister said that Pakistani forces were seeking to avenge their military defeat in the Kargil conflict earlier this year, by supporting militant attacks in Indian administered Kashmir.


[ image: Farooq Abdullah: Needs more funds]
Farooq Abdullah: Needs more funds
"I believe that the sudden spurt in terrorist activity in Jammu and Kashmir ... is borne out of frustration that stems from the humiliating defeat Pakistan suffered on the battlefield," he said.

Earlier this month, militants belonging to the Pakistan-based Lashkar-e-Taiba attacked the Kashmir headquarters of the Indian army, killing an army major and six of his colleagues.

India said 21 people including 17 Pakistani soldiers were killed when Pakistani soldiers attacked a border post in northern Kashmir.

Appeal for funds

The chief minister of Indian-administered Kashmir, Dr Farooq Abdullah, said continued violence had weakened the state's economy.


[ image: Security checks are in place following recent violence]
Security checks are in place following recent violence
Some 250,000 young, educated Kashmiris were unemployed and tourism - the state's main source of revenue - had been affected by the Kargil conflict.

Roads needed urgent repairs and schools and colleges had no money, he said.

The state government needed at least $200m to meet its expenses, the chief minister said. He also asked the federal government to waive a loan of $250m.

The BBC's Satish Jacob in Delhi says, however, that the federal government was strapped for funds after the Kargil conflict and the recent cyclone in Orissa.

Defence Minister George Fernandes and Finance Minister Yashwant Sinha also attended the meeting which decided to set up a committee to look into the development projects in the state.



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